‘Gold’ Green Apple Award for work on Steart Peninsular

Team Van Oord has received a ‘Gold’ Green Apple Award for its work on the Steart Peninsular, on behalf of the Environment Agency.

The Green Apple Awards are organised by the Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environmental group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

Established in 1994, the Green Apple Awards have become one of the world’s most popular and coveted environmental campaigns. Judges for the awards are drawn from the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.

Team Van Oord received its Gold award – the highest accolade bestowed by the Green Apple Awards – for the £18m Steart Coastal Management Project which is located next to the Severn Estuary on the Steart Peninsular.

The Steart Peninsula is surrounded by internationally and nationally designated nature conservation areas forming part of the Severn Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Ramsar Site, Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); as well as Bridgwater Bay Site National Nature Reserve (NNR).

The project comprises the construction of a new intertidal habitat and associated flood defences as part of the Environment Agency’s overall environmental offset scheme for other works in the area.

The Environment Agency has national and international obligations to create intertidal habitat on the Severn Estuary to compensate for losses that are expected due to coastal squeeze, and the Steart Coastal Management Project will provide 40% of the required offset habitat for the Severn Estuary.

The project is creating a major new wetland including: 194 ha of intertidal salt marsh; 40 ha of intertidal mudflat; 67 ha of transitional brackish habitat; 106 ha of coastal grazing marsh; 17 hectares of brackish and saline lagoons; eight hectares of freshwater lagoon; 12 hectares of reedbed; 61 hectares of dry grassland; 11 hectares of scrub & hedge; and numerous ponds and ditches.

Matt Phillips Team Van Oord project manager for the scheme, said: “In order to create the new habitat we had to relocate water voles, badgers, great crested newts and reptiles and undertake extensive unexploded ordnance and archaeological investigations.

“The construction works comprised more than 600 000m3 of earthworks, 80 structures, 14 km of new fencing, 8km of new PROWs and creating new visitor facilities.

“The new intertidal habitat will begin to develop following the construction of a 270m wide breach in the existing defence in 2014.

“The project will the manage the current flood risk to people and property and provide more opportunity for those living and working in the area to adapt to sea level rise and plan for the future. The amenity value of the peninsula will also be improved.

“We are working closely with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust who will take over management of the habitat on completion.”

The Gold award was presented to Team Van Oord at the 2013 Green Apple Awards’ ceremony in the House of Commons on 11 November.

Footnote: In 2013 the Steart project won the Environment Agency’s Health, Safety and Environmental Exemplar Award. And a year earlier, following a visit by an assessor from the Considerate Constructors Scheme, the Steart project was deemed an “exceptionally good site” having achieved a score of 37 out of a maximum of 40 points.

13 January 2014